The half-brother of Prince Harry’s actress girlfriend has been charged after allegedly holding a gun to a woman’s head following a drunken argument, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Thomas Markle Jr – whose half-sister Meghan has been dating the young Prince for several months – was arrested late on Thursday at the home he shares with his girlfriend of two months, Darlene Blount, in Grants Pass, Oregon.
The 50-year-old, whose father Thomas Markle Sr is also Meghan’s dad, was taken into custody after the row which is said to have escalated into violence.
An official police log of the incident, which spelled Meghan’s brother’s name incorrectly, stated: ‘Markel and Blount got into an argument.
‘In his drunken state Markel grabbed a gun and pressed it to Blount’s head in an attempt to get her to leave.’
It added that Blount rang the police after locking herself in the bathroom for safety.
Markle was charged with menacing, pointing a firearm at another person, and unlawful use of a weapon, according to police records.
Deputy Jill Elardi, of Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed the arrest and charges. She said: ‘He was arrested at 11pm on January 12 and released on Friday at 10am. He will be going to court for it.’
A mugshot of Markle looking red-faced and rumpled was posted on a website that collates arrest records from across the United States.
Bail for his release was set at $1,500 – about £1,200 – and he called his ex-wife Tracy Dooley at 3am to ask her to help stump up the cash.
His arrest will almost certainly prove embarrassing for Meghan, the star of US legal drama Suits, and raise questions in Royal circles about her suitability as a consort.
Tracy said: ‘I don’t want this to be embarrassing for Meghan. Tom has had a little fame and publicity since Meghan started dating Prince Harry. He wants what’s best for her. They used to be very close but there has been some separation over the years. The last thing he would want to do is to hurt her.’
Meghan’s burgeoning relationship with Harry, 32, has already been described as ‘serious’.
She has visited the Prince in London at least twice and stayed at Kensington Palace. The pair are expected to go skiing next month.
Some commentators have suggested the young couple may even marry. Meghan, 35, has also met William and Kate.
Tracy, a recovering alcoholic, said her ex-husband also has alcohol issues. The pair were married for 11 years until they divorced in 2001.
‘When he called he sounded very sad and asked if I would help to get him out of jail,’ she said. ‘I hope this incident helps him get the help he needs to deal with alcohol issues he might have.
‘All of his family love and support him and are very concerned about him. He needs to recognise if he has a problem.’
She said Thomas Jr had moved to Oregon ‘for a fresh start’ after ‘having issues’ in California following a split from a partner.
‘He had issues with alcohol during our marriage, as I did. My life was a mess until I got sober. Tom and I partied a lot when we were married. I don’t know what he was doing in California. He had a tendency to drink too much.’
She added: ‘I’m sure Meghan would want him to get the help he needs.’
Earlier this month Thomas Jr said his 72-year-old father was ‘proud’ of Meghan’s relationship with Harry and said the pair were ‘very much in love’. He told MailOnline: ‘My dad knew about [the relationship] from the start,’ ‘He first met Prince Harry about six months ago in Toronto.’
Thomas Jr’s two sons – Tyler, 27, and Thomas Dooley, 25 – live near to him in Grants Pass. Thomas Jr, born in Chicago, is the only son of Thomas and his first wife Roslyn, now 71.
By the time Meghan was born in 1981, Thomas Jr was living with his father, sister Samantha and step-mother Doria in Los Angeles.
Speaking of his half-sister’s relationship with Harry, Thomas Jr said: ‘I think it is wonderful. As long as he takes care of and loves Meg, he doesn’t have to do anything else – although I would like to shake his hand and meet him.’
SOURCE: CAROLINE GRAHAM, HUGO DANIEL, CHARLOTTE WACE